Patent owners and Open Source

Are you a patent holder, wondering how to write software which implements your patent? Here's my advice: Patents expire. Towards the end of the patent's lifetime, you want to be trying to transfer the patent's franchise over to the relationship between the patent-holder and the licensee. That can be done with closed-source software, but you risk competitors writing their own software. With Open Source software, as long as you manage the relationship with the user correctly, you end up with a franchise.

OSI supports ODF and Document Freedom Day

March 26 is Document Freedom Day (DFD). On March 26th, events and activities across the world will be held to promote adoption of free document formats such as the Open Document Format (ODF).

For any individual or organization, anywhere in the world, the right to share data without "lock-in" from vendors is as fundamental as the right to knowledge. Open standards and free document formats are integral to protecting this right for everyone.

Microsoft needs to blush

OOXML needs to die. It's clear that OOXML is a faux standard -- not because it's a vendor standard. There are lots of vendor-created standards which are real standards (e.g. PostScript). No, OOXML is a botch because it's expressed in terms of an undocumented Microsoft graphics library. OOXML is all "and then a miracle occurs". You've seen that cartoon, right?

Who speaks for the Open Source Community?

Steve Ballmer asks, in an E*Week interview, who speaks for the Open Source Community, and answers his question by saying that nobody does. True enough! He then goes on to point out that Larry Ellison, he speaks for Oracle, yes. True enough! But who speaks for the proprietary software vendors? When we, the open source community, want to make an agreement with the proprietary software vendors, who do we talk to? Do we talk to Larry? Or Steve? Or Jonathan? Or Curley? Or Moe?

Simon Phipps was right

Simon, I'm beginning to think that you were right and I was wrong. You said a standard's process is a crucial aspect of the standard's product, and a process that is not open cannot be trusted to produce a product that can be considered open. I maintained that I had seen and used many wonderful standards that took absolutely zero input from me, and therefore I didn't see my participation as a necessary prerequisite for assuring quality in the future. I believed that no matter what the process, a standard should be judged by the product.

What's in a label? ODF vs. OOXML and Open Standards

The OSI adopted a mandate of working on Open Standards two years ago. We put forward a statement on requirements for an Open Standard which boiled down to a simple proposition: if the standard could not be implemented fully and faithfully in Open Source, the standard should never be declared nor considered open.

Installfest at the Alameda County Computer Resource Center

One of the high points of my last trip to California was meeting James Burgett. Burgett is an utterly fearless man, a former drug addict who candidly admits he originally began recycling and assembling computers to finance his habit but then got clean and founded one of the most effective and remarkable nonprofits I know of.

Russ Nelson to speak at Irish Web Technology Conference 2008

I've been invited to speak at the Irish Web Technology Conference 2008, in Dublin a week from today, on the subject of Open Source Licensing. If you assume that this is the Dublin in Ireland, and not any of the Dublins in California, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, or Virginia, you would be correct.


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